Councilman Brian Sauer believes there is money in Pickerington's budget to help pay for July 4 fireworks and he's hoping to persuade other council members to agree.

Councilman Brian Sauer believes there is money in Pickerington's budget to help pay for July 4 fireworks and he's hoping to persuade other council members to agree.

The issue is on the finance committee's April 3 agenda, after the full council voted 6-1 on March 17 to ask the committee to investigate.

Sauer said in a letter to fellow council members last week he had identified areas in the city budget where funds might be available to pay half the cost of a fireworks display --about $12,000.

If supported, the city would ask Violet Township to provide $12,000 for the display. Sauer said at least one township trustee is receptive to the plan.

"In a year when we may be asking for a tax levy for the police department, it would be nice to give a little something back to the community during tough economic times, when it may be difficult for some to do much else," Sauer wrote.

However, several council members noted that is unlikely the city would be able to contract with a fireworks pyrotechnician at this late stage.

"I'd say it's less than 50/50," City Manager Tim Hansley said.

As for Violet Township, there currently is no plan to fund or co-finance a fireworks display, according to Bill Yaple, the township's director of operations.

"We may have participated with someone, but we weren't going to fund it ourselves," he said. "We don't have $25,000 to fund it.

"(Co-financing) is a discussion that has to be had yet," Yaple said. "For them to delay it to April, I don't know how you could do it. If there's going to be any fireworks, it's going to be in (Pickerington) City Hall."

Citing financial constraints, Pickerington City Council agreed last year to eliminate the $28,000 targeted for the city's annual Fourth of July festival as part of an effort to cut more than $1.5-million from the city's 2009 budget.

In petitioning council to reallocate funds for the display, Sauer said it appears the city will spend anywhere from $400 to $3,000 less than was budgeted on everything from personnel training to legislative advertising.

The lone opponent of sending the matter to committee was Councilman Brian Wisniewski, who said council should stick to its previous decision to forego funding the event in 2009.

"Make up your mind about what you're doing and stick to it," he said. "We need to have some sort of consistency on this council.

"I'm not against looking at it for the 2010 budget," he said. "I just think we made a decision for 2009."

nellis@thisweeknews.com